Ask someone if they enjoy an ice-cold Panther Milk and there are two possible outcomes.

They might look at you with silent alarm, no doubt wondering if this is the latest health food fad they've missed out on and just how dangerous it might be to secure the milk of a wild cat.

Or they'll warmly accept the offer, knowing fine well that you're talking about a classic Glasgow cocktail with a major cult following.

From beginnings at a speakeasy-style bar in the city centre to relaunching as an independent drinks brand, it's been quite the journey for founder and CEO Paul Crawford. 

Glasgow Times:

Pictured: Paul Crawford founder and CEO of Panther Milk

Talking us through the drink's globe-trotting origin story he said: “I've been in the license trade for years and worked in, then co-owned Sub Club between 1991 and 2012. 

"During that time we used to run club events over in Barcelona for events like the Sonar music festival. 

“One night, one of the club owners took me to a bar in the Gothic Quarter where they sold this amazing, milky, sweet, boozy concoction that they called ‘Leche De Pantera’ or Panther Milk,

"That's how it all started.

READ MORE: First look inside city centre Abandon Ship Bar ahead of launch

“Myself, the DJ’s and the promoters all went home and told everyone about this amazing drink that we had tried while we were in Spain.

"We went back to the same bar the next year it was packed full of Glaswegians.

“It was at that point that I decided I would open a pop-up bar in Glasgow which sold nothing but Panther Milk in three different flavours."

Glasgow Times:

Pictured: Panther Milk became an instant hit in Glasgow

Newly determined to bring this exotic cocktail to the people of Glasgow, a chance offer to set up shop right in the heart of the city soon saw the drink become a cultural phenomenon.

Tucked away in the back room of Tabac, the new pop-up bar space effortlessly upheld the cool, underground ‘if you know you know’ type of vibe which was starting to become a huge part of Panther Milk's appeal.

Paul said:“A friend of mine at the time had just bought a bar on Mitchell Lane which had this almost sort of ‘secret’ space in the back.

“He asked if I had any ideas for what to do with it, and I told him that I wanted to open up the Panther Milk bar.

“He definitely looked a bit puzzled, but he trusted my judgement.

“We initially planned to be open for just two months, but it went totally crazy.

“There were waitlists on tables and then Vice magazine ran a piece on it which blew it up even more.

“We ended up staying open for four and a half years until the bar was sold.”

Anyone who has tried it will know exactly what gives makes Panther Milk its unique flavour, but for those still wondering what makes this milky drink so sought after we asked Paul to provide some clarity.

Rest assured, no jungle cats are harmed in the process.

Glasgow Times:

Pictured: Harry Savory of Dark Arts Drinks 

He said: “People really seem to love it in Glasgow, it’s definitely got that kind of a cult following.

“Traditionally in Spain, it’s made with milk, condensed milk, rum, gin and brandy.

“We use oat milk instead because we want to be as sustainable as possible and then we have a range of different flavours like chocolate, mint, banana or strawberry.

“It’s 15% so has the same abbreviation as something like Tequila Rose…or Buckfast.

“It does pack a punch.”

Measuring a drinks alcohol content against Buckfast may be a clear indication of strong Glasgwegian roots, but Paul now feels that the time is right to expand his business even further.

Glasgow Times:

Pictured: Fraser McIlwraith, Paul Crawford, Adam Strang and Harry Savory

Like many others in the industry, it was the covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns that pushed him to rediscover his true passion for sharing his cocktail creation with the world.

He said: “I had been working at a tech start-up company, but due to covid I was made redundant.

READ MORE: We visit newly opened Yianni's Bar at popular city centre restaurant

“At that point, I decided that I would focus all my energy on launching Panther Milk as a brand.

“We’re now working with a company based in Shawlands called Dark Art Drinks and launched properly in October of last year.

“It’s really just gone from strength to strengths since then.”

Glasgow Times:

Pictured: Adam Strang and Harry Savory of Dark Arts at work

It's an exciting time for Paul as he prepares to stock his drink in locations all over the UK and even hints that we may soon see him on our TV screens pitching the idea to some well-known celebrity entrepreneurs.

Despite this, there's no mistaking that it's the people of Glasgow who have truly helped to shape Panther Milks identity over the years.

Glasgow Times:

Pictured: Panther Milk is going nationwide

Paul said: “Everyone has been really supportive, we’ve had some big-name bars like Bananamoon, SWG3 and Buck’s Bar get behind us to give us a fighting chance of making it work.

“I’ve been really blown away by all the support and would love to be able to keep production in Glasgow as we expand.

“I think because of that cult following that we have this city will always be the home of Panther Milk.

“To be able to become a UK wide brand with its centre in Glasgow – that’s what I would love to achieve.”

For more information on Panther Milk, click here.